Saturday, November 26, 2011

Connecting Hanukkah with an Important Jewish Value

Ever since we were strangers in the land of Egypt, we Jews have been taught to always accept the other in our midst. The term other is a broad one, encompassing more than community newcomers. It incudes the needy, all types of handicapped people, as well as emotionally and mentally challenged individuals.

As the mother of a challenged son I know up close that the fight to be accepted is an uphill battle. That's why when Nicole Katzman -- the mother of an autistic boy -- told me of the unpleasant situations she was exposed to and asked me to co-author a book on an autistic child, I identified with her plight and picked up the baton. I knew she was right when she said the Jewish community needs a book like this. The issue was finding the right peg for a story that would speak to children and adults alike. The minute I discovered that in previous years her son blew out the Hanukkah candles, I yelled out "BINGO!"

This Hanukkah I urge you to read my new book Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles to your children and students. Use this compelling story as the opening for a discussion on how to accept challenged children into your midst. It's the miracle they are waiting for and it will light up their lives.

You can purchase this unusual Hanukkah story through Kar-Ben's online bookstore, Amazon,  B&N, other online bookstores, or ask your local Judaica store.

Wishing you a meaningful Hanukkah.

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